The Journey of a Memoir
From Personal Experience to Published Work

Photo of Lane Igoudin at a table with his books displayed
photo by Rory Miner

“I fell in love with [these kids] instantly. To them, I was their parent, their around-the-clock dad, but to the court I wasn’t. The court expected me to raise them as my own children, but also to be ready to give them up at any moment. It breaks your heart.” A Family, Maybe” by Lane Igoudin

Memoirs have a unique power to draw readers into the intimate narratives of our lives, offering glimpses into personal struggles, triumphs, and transformations. However, the path from lived experiences to a published book is often challenging, filled with revisions, rejections, and revelations. The story behind the creation of Lane’s memoir, “A Family, Maybe”, showcases the arduous yet rewarding journey of bringing deeply personal experience to life. 

Lane Igoudin’s candid and emotional book follows him and his partner Jonathan during the early 2000s as they fight an uphill battle to adopt two little girls, sisters, from the Los Angeles County child welfare system. Lane and Jon spend years not knowing whether they will get to keep the kids, or if the county will reunite them with their birth mother, Jenna, a teenager in the state’s custody herself. The stress of the foster-to-adopt process, compounded with the mounting, nationwide struggle for LGBTQ+ equality, erodes the sense of peace in Lane and Jon’s home. Still, the girls attach themselves deeply to their adoptive parents, while their dads do all they can to give them the best lives possible. Heartwarming moments with the kids and relatable first-time-parent woes become bittersweet as Lane realizes how much he and Jon have built—and how much they could lose.

Lane’s writing journey began in the mid-2000s, a time when he found himself grappling with the complexities of family, identity, and adoption. He meticulously kept records of the foster-adoptive process, storing boxes of memorabilia and court documents, planning to share his story with the others. Yet it felt like a daunting task that he couldn’t bring himself to do until 2012. Even then, despite an abundance of material, writing the book proved to be slow and laborious. It wasn’t until around 2017-2018 that he completed the first draft of his memoir. Meanwhile, Lane began to write extensively on foster adoption, parenting, and LGBTQ issues, with his essays and articles appearing in “,” “Bay Windows,” “,” “Forward,” “Lambda Literary Review,” and “Parabola.”

Once the book was finished, Lane’s next step was finding representation. After many setbacks, the project landed at Ooligan Press, a teaching press here at Portland State, and the contract was signed in November 2022. The publisher, recognizing the potential of Lane’s manuscript, decided to fast-track its publication and brought in Kelly Morrison, Ooligan’s managing editor at that time, to work with Lane to shape the narrative. Kelly, who was completing her Master’s in Book Publishing at PSU, guided the book’s development while preserving its authenticity and ensuring clarity of the writing. 

For the next several months, Lane worked closely with Kelly and other departments at the press to realize his vision for the memoir. He worked long nights making sure that beyond the press, “A Family, Maybe” would reach the audiences like prospective parents who need this book, and that the readers at large would learn about the life-saving importance of adopting kids from the foster care system, of finding permanent, committed families for them.

Since the book’s publication, Lane has been able to tell his story on NBC’s “Daytime” show as well as a variety of radio programs and podcasts. Excerpts from “A Family Maybe” were shared online byLGBTQ Nation” and “Motherhood Later.” The book has also received enthusiastic endorsements from writers like Janet Fitch, whose novel “White Oleander” is a foster care American classic, progressive politicians in his home state of California, and heads of Dave E. Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Family Equality, the nation’s largest LGBTQ family advocacy organization.

In February, at the time of the press’s launch of the book, Lane came to PSU to give talks in two courses where students getting first-hand knowledge of the ins and outs of writing were able to gain insight into the publishing process with a real author. Not only were they soaking up Lane’s knowledge of the technicalities of writing a book, but the emotional side of one as well. 

Candid photo of Lane Igoudin
photo by Rory Miner

As “A Family, Maybe” continues to find its way to readers around the country, Lane hopes that his story will inspire others to embark on their own parenting journeys and encourage them to open their hearts and homes to kids in the foster system. 

“A Family, Maybe” is now available through Powell’s Books, Bookshop, and Amazon.

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